Learn about the residence permit for research in Spain

There are occasions when foreign researchers are required to carry out research and development work in a company, institution or university in Spain. Spain allows foreign researchers to reside in the country through the issuance of a research residence permit or researcher’s visa. This is a residence and work permit under the Entrepreneurs Law. This law allows a foreigner who has been included in a research project to carry out Research and Development and Innovation (R&D&I) activities in Spain to live and work legally in the country.

The duration of the research residence permit is two years, but it also depends on the duration of the agreement or employment contract. This permit can be renewed successively every two years. In case the project exceeds six months, the foreign applicant must apply for a TIE or physical residence card.

What type of researchers can benefit from this permit?

The following types of researchers can apply for the residence permit for research: Research personnel in science, technology and innovation, professors and other teaching staff who have been hired by a university, business school or higher education centre in Spain, researchers who have a contract with a private or public research organisation and, finally, workers linked to research, development and innovation centres in Spain who carry out tasks of a technological, scientific and innovative nature.

The application for the research residence permit must be initiated by the company, institution or university in Spain that hires the foreign researcher. This application must be made online through the Ministry of Labour, Migration and Social Security. The application will be processed in just twenty working days by the UGE or Unidad de Grandes Empresas in Madrid.

This residency can be applied for either from Spain or from your country of origin. The application can include all family members, spouse and children who are dependent on the applicant. The main requirements for the applicant are to be at least 18 years old, be a citizen of a country outside the European Union, not have a criminal record in Spain or in the country in which he/she has resided in the last five years, not be in an irregular situation in Spain, not be prohibited from entering the Schengen area, have sufficient funds to support him/herself and his/her family in Spain, have public or private health insurance, have a full passport and, finally, be able to make the necessary investment for the application.